Tour Championship promises great contest
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 PGA Tour Championship | Preview | 18 Sep 2012
Well it has finally arrived. After 40 FedEx Cup points carrying events in 2013, the race for the trophy and the huge bonuses up for grabs at the East Lake Golf Club at this week’s Tour Championship has arrived.
The thirty leading points scorers in the year long points race will tee it up and any one player, if they were to win the event, mathematically has a chance to take not only the Tour Championship title but the US$10 million bonus purse to the winner of the FedEx Cup.
Realistically the chances amongst those thirty winning the overall FedEX Cup are significantly less than that as any player currently outside the top five in the standings, even if they were to win, would need to rely on the performances of others to determine their fate in the FedEx Cup’s final standings.
Those players inside the top five at present however control their own destiny as if any one of them is able to win this week then they are guaranteed the double whammy of Tour Championship and FedEx Cup trophies.
Just for making it this far a player is guaranteed a bonus of US$225,000 in addition to any other prizemoney he earns this week. If he was to finish 10th on the FedEx Cup list that bonus rises to US$500,000 and if he was to finish 5th the bonus is US$1,000,000.
It keeps getting better however with US$1.5 million, US$2 million, US$3 million and finally US$10 million for those players finishing between 4th and 1st.
Leading the race is the game’s number one player Rory McIlroy who interestingly plays the Tour Championship for the very first occasion having only just become a member of the PGA Tour this season.
Everything he touches seems to turn to gold at present however and it would not surprise if he is the one to take out both prizes this week. With three victories in his last four starts, on courses he had not played previously, then there is no reason the roll can’t continue this week.
Tiger Woods on the other hand has won the event once and been runner-up on three occasions at East Lakes and given his good recent form then he and McIlory are sure to be in the thick of things come Sunday.
Woods has won three times on the PGA Tour this season and has been 3rd and 4th in his last two starts so there is a lot to like about his chances on a golf course he clearly enjoys.
Luke Donald is another with a good record at East Lake Golf Club despite not winning. Donald has been 3rd and 2nd the last two years and although a little below his best at present he is more than capable of challenging again.
If Donald was to win however he would need some help from others in order to claim both titles this week as he is currently 10th in the FedEx Cup standings.
Nick Watney burst into consideration for the biggest purse in golf when he won the Barclays to take him to the top of the points standings. he has not played quite as well in the two events since and has slipped to 3rd but he has still been solid enough.
Watney has one top ten in three starts in the event, that coming when he finished 4th behind Jim Furyk in 2010.
Phil Mickelson hardly seemed a factor for the FeEx Cup title a month ago but very good weeks in Chicago and Indiana have opened the door for his third East Lake victory and his first FedEx Cup victory.
Brandt Snedeker has hardly set the world on fire in his two appearances in this event but he has found some good form in recent weeks and might be an outside chance.
Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen get the play the tournament for the first occasion and both are close to their peak. Both have recovered from a mid season slump and are expected to be genuine chances.
Adam Scott won this event at East Lake in 2006 and was 6th last year so there is every indication he can capitalise on his good recent form on a golf course he obviously likes. He appears to have gotten over the reaction to his late demise at the Open Championship and appears to be a very good chance this week.
John Senden is the other of the Australians in the field. This will be Senden’s third start in the tournament, his best finish coming three years ago when 10th.
Senden has recorded plenty of solid midfield finishes of late without threatening for a title and another good solid week can be expected.
The tournament provides a great led-up to next week’s Ryder Cup but it might just be that a real battle might develop a little earlier between several players from the opposing sides in Chicago.
The next two weeks in the world of golf promise much.
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